So, I haven’t had much in the way of ideas lately (the blog will go on; just not sure if it will get updated more than a few times a week though…we’ll see) so I decided to pray for a little guidance.
And the answer I got was to, well, talk about prayer. Fitting, eh? Also, with this tiny revelation came the thought to link my topic with something another blogger, BlackGirlInMaine, had posted about recently at her place.
In her post “The follow-up” she reprints a column she wrote on the topic of race and more specifically perceived racism. In it, she notes that when she suspects racism against her, white people are often quick to come up with alternate scenarios, invalidating both her instincts and a lifetime of experience she had with something they have never had to deal with personally.
This is the way I feel when, for example, someone like The Word of Me (and I love you, TWOM, and want you to keep commenting; I’m not knocking you) comes into the comments and questions the validity of prayer, as he did for this post here in comment #10.
I could go on all day about what Jesus meant when he said anything asked in his name would be given, why God couldn’t possibly grant all prayers since some would be in direct conflict, the difference between a proper prayer and a selfish one, etc. etc. etc.
But I won’t.
What I will do is ask this: Why must some huge prayer-fulfillment event be the proof that prayer works? Why must most prayers be answered to prove there is a purpose and place for prayer? Why must I provide outside evidence of the power of prayer?
Much like racism, it’s something that one experiences quite personally. I believe in the power of prayer because prayers have been answered for me.
I pray for strength, and I usually get just enough fortitude to get me through what was previously crushing me.
I pray for help when a financial crisis rocks my family, and before long, I get a gift or an opportunity that provides me with just enough money to get past that crisis.
I pray guidance in writing a blog post, and when I open my Bible, a highlighted passage is staring me in the face (and I don’t highlight very many passages in my Bible) and I almost immediately know what I am supposed to say about that passage.
No, not all my prayers are answered. But many of them don’t deserve to be, and I know that in many cases once I’ve had time to think about it. Hell, I know that a lot of the times when I’m doing the praying.
The point is, I have a very personal experience with prayer. To require me to seek out some proof of its power is to essentially tell me I’m delusional to some degree. Because you’re saying that the proof in my own life isn’t enough. That I cannot trust my own experiences.
I’m not the kind of guy who ever looked for a savior, you know. I’m not the kind of guy who ever wanted a God who expects me to answer for my sins. I’m really not. It would be much easier to pick a religion that is less demanding of my spirit or to pick no religion at all. But I am a Christian because I feel the truth in it, not because I chose it. Likewise, I have experienced what prayer can do.
I’m not saying that I can prove to you prayer has power simply based on my own anecdotal experience. I’m just saying that you cannot demand that I offer up proof it works and that in the absence of statistics and correlations and visible proof I must reject that it has any value.
I can’t prove that I really love my wife or that she loves me. I can’t provide hard evidence that love exists between us. I can only say that I feel it and know it is there. But it would be easy to say it’s just a delusion based on neurotransmitters or that it’s something that only has short-term value and really never lasts.
And, as I noted before by referencing BGIM’s post, you can invalidate a person’s claims of racism by simply saying, “Well, how can you be sure?”
But that’s just a way to tear the other person down a little, whether you intend it or not. Because it’s easy to pick apart subtle or ephemeral things when you aren’t in the midst of them.
Prayer works for me. And so I know it’s real and powerful.
That’s may not be good enough for some of you out there. But it’s good enough for me.